Business week in review

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The Independent Online

In profit...

OK, Williams Formula 1 team might not be at the kind of heights it once enjoyed when all-British racing hero Nigel Mansell was regularly contesting world championships, but chief executive Alex Burns could afford a smile on Monday.

The Oxfordshire-based team, listed in Frankfurt, announced a net profit of £1.9m in the six months to 30 June, while revenue leapt by 57 per cent to £73m. However, given the team is languishing in eighth place in the Constructors' Championship, Burns was surely being a tad overly enthusiastic when speaking of Williams' "upward trend" in on-track performance.

Also on Monday, Mitchells & Butlers announced that Alistair Darby, the chief operating officer at brewer Marston's, is to become the All Bar One owner's new boss. M&B has been looking for a chief executive for months, with many candidates thought to be worried about billionaire Joe Lewis's 23 per cent holding and his recurring desire to buy the group.

In case you haven't heard, Apple boss Tim Cook unveiled the iPhone 5 on Wednesday, amid hype that sales of the smartphone could reach 30 million by Christmas. a loss

Burberry might no longer be considered "chavvy", but the luxury brand's march to global power was brutally stalled on Tuesday, when it issued a profit warning.

As shares plunged 21 per cent, finance director Stacey Cartwright was forced to explain how spending had slowed down "in Asia, the US, Europe and the UK". On the plus side, full-year profit is still expect to be a touch over £400m, which means the business is enjoying growth of around 6 per cent – a figure Ms Cartwright argued most companies would be pleased with.

Colin Matthews, the chief executive at Heathrow owner BAA, went all contrarian on Tuesday by taking the opposing view to the rest of the UK: those Olympics were a bit rubbish. Passenger numbers at Heathrow and Stansted fell as Brits stayed at home, and potential visitors took their summer breaks away from London.

On Wednesday, Ian Cheshire, the chief executive of B&Q-owner Kingfisher, went for a more traditional British excuse to blame poor sales of its barbecues, hosepipes and plants: the weather.